The legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games is still delivering benefits for the UK capital and beyond, helping to shape sporting and fan experiences more than a decade after the Olympic flame was extinguished.
This year, the 10th anniversary edition of the annual RideLondon event took place, with tens of thousands of amateur cyclists taking part as some of the sport’s most famous names also took to the roads.
A total of four mass participation cycling events took place this year over three days alongside the Ford RideLondon Classique – the UK’s only UCI (International Cycling Union) Women’s WorldTour professional race in 2023.
The Classique’s three days of racing started in Saffron Walden, before heading to Maldon in Essex and culminating at The Mall in London on the final day. Dutch cyclist Charlotte Kool took the top spot, followed by America’s Chloe Dygert and British contender Lizzie Deignan
Over 22,500 people rode distances of either 30, 60 or 100 miles across the mass participation events. A further 30,000 riders enjoyed the free, family friendly FreeCycle route of eight miles of traffic-free roads, passing many of London’s most famous landmarks and visiting the festival sites at Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Churchyard and Bank.
“This year was the 10th anniversary for the Olympic legacy event, which has inspired more than 150,000 people to start cycling or cycle more in addition to raising more than £83m for more than 1,000 charities since the first edition in 2013,” Hugh Brasher, Event Director at London Marathon Events, which organises RideLondon, tells Fan XP.
“A highlight for this year was the new Ford RideLondon HUB at London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, where spectators and riders basked in the sunshine and enjoyed the free bike-based entertainment, which included daredevil BMX stunts, musical entertainment and performances from British street theatre acts.”
Inspiring a generation
Brasher explains how RideLondon is maintaining London 2012’s original mantra – to ‘inspire a generation’.
“The Mayor of London created RideLondon as an Olympic legacy event and it is by far the most successful legacy event from the 2012 Games,” Brasher adds. “We work to encourage people of all ages and abilities and all different ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds to get on a bike and enjoy cycling on traffic-free roads in one of the world’s greatest cities.”
Indeed, the inspirational element of RideLondon has extended to encouraging people to take a proactive approach to sustainability in daily life.
“We all know that our planet is heating up and the weather is becoming more extreme,” says Brasher. “We all need to take action to help tackle this global issue and the simple act of getting on a bike rather than using a car for short journeys can reduce our daily carbon footprint by up to 84 per cent.”
The fan experience zones that accompanied RideLondon also featured educational input from sponsor Ford, to inspire more attendees to ditch the car for short journeys. In the Ford RideLondon HUB in Trafalgar Square, Ford highlighted its ‘Park the Car’ initiative which encourages people to walk or cycle wherever possible.
“In London alone, more than more than 250,000 journeys of less than a mile are made by car every day,” explains Brasher.
“RideLondon opens up our capital to the cyclist and enables everyone – from young children on balance bikes right through to grandparents and great grandparents to enjoy cycling in our great capital city. Not only does that help the environment – the air on the Sunday of RideLondon had 90 per cent less nitrogen dioxide than usual – but it’s also great for physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
Next year’s mass participation RideLondon events will take place on May 26, with the public now able to register their interest in the different distances.
Image credit: Image courtesy of RideLondon
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